Body Pump Will Pump You Up

On Monday, I attended my first-ever Body Pump class.  This seems to be one of Les Mills’ most popular class offerings, and I know a lot of my run-blogging friends are fans.  I decided to give it a try because I really need more overall strength training, but I find the weight room intimidating.  Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m an empowered woman, blah blah, but still.  I don’t like it.  And I also don’t really know what I’m doing.  So to have an instructor telling me exactly what to do and when sounded really appealing.

Since I didn’t have rehearsal until 8 pm, I was able to make a 5:30 class (class is one hour), and my coworker/gym buddy Freda came along for the ride.  We got there early and approached a woman who we assumed was the instructor.  She had just finished up teaching the previous class, but was kind enough to get us sorted out before she left.  She actually said, “OK, we gotta get you set up, these people are like pirhannas, like sharks after chum.  You gotta get your equipment fast or it’s all gone!”  She wasn’t kidding.  This class was jam-packed and there were people swarming all over the place grabbing bars and plates and steps.

She gave us a quick run-down of what the class would be like–warm up, squats/legs, upper body, abs, cool down and stretch, and showed us how the bars and clips worked, and explained that we could use as much or as little weight as we wanted for each section.  After that, we just sort of waited anxiously for the class to start.

Guys, the instructor for this class was pregnant.  And she’s not even the regular instructor. The regular instructor (who happens to be her sister), is even MORE pregnant.  If you ever wanted to feel completely inadequate, take a Body Pump class taught by a visibly pregnant woman who doesn’t even break a sweat.  I can only hope I’m half as active and strong as those two when I start procreating. My personal feelings of inadequacy aside, we lucked out once again with a new release, so we weren’t walking into a class where everyone knew the routine except us.

I will say, because the class was so full, and with so many people who obviously do Body Pump regularly, I feel like there is a very real possibility for failure/error/doing exercises incorrectly as a new person.  I had never done a clean and press before this class, and could have used some more help getting that motion down.  Proper form is really important to get the most out of an exercise and to avoid injury, and I feel like while Melissa did the best she could to describe the movements well, she was more focused on moving through the routine than giving individual feedback.  Keep this in mind if you decide to try Body Pump.  Maybe seek the instructor out before your first class and try to get a bit of coaching first.

Photo Jan 26, 7 29 09 PMAside from that, this class is VERY good, and I can see why it’s so popular.  It really is a full-body strength workout, that in my (non-professional) opinion, was pretty well-balanced.  The warm up was just long enough to get my heart rate up a bit, and then we went straight into a squat track, which kind of made me want to die.  Honestly, I thought I was a relatively strong person going into this class, but now I realize that that was a fantasy.  I’m wimpy and out of shape.  After doing 3 minutes of squats and lunges, I thought my legs were going to fall off.  I kind of wanted them to.  And then we did upper body.  And then abs.

The day or two after, I had quite a bit of DOMS (particularly in my quads and the weird underarm/boob-fat area, which I think is a good thing), but nothing unmanageable, which means that I didn’t push it too hard.  I want to take this class once a week, but I’m having a tough time fitting it into my schedule right now because of rehearsals.  I’m probably going to end up having to go to a 6 am class, which is SO not my usual scene, but I think it will be worth it, particularly since I have the Spartan Race in September and have no idea how to train for it.  Full-body strength training seems like a pretty good start for lack of another plan.

Have you ever tried Body Pump?

If so, are the people at your gym pirhannas? Do you have to get to class early and fight for a spot and equipment?

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19 thoughts on “Body Pump Will Pump You Up

  1. Rachel says:

    I’ve never been to a Body Pump class before, but it sounds like a great thing for you!! I definitely recommend getting your form checked on your cleans though. I had an experienced friend teach me and he probably came with me the first three or four times I did cleans just to help me practice and make sure my form was correct. Cleans really have a very specific form and it would be easy to injure yourself if you did them wrong.

    I’ve been itching to get back into some barbell work lately. Maybe this weekend!

    • DarlinRae says:

      I’ll talk to a buddy of mine who’s a phys-ed teacher and avid lifter to get my form straight–thanks for the tip! I really think strength training has been a missing component for me, and I’m hoping it does good things.

  2. dgobs says:

    Badass! I’ve never done Body Pump… ordinarily something with that name would totally intimidate me, but it sounds like you had a fantastic instructor! I’ve encountered quite a few piranhas as well, especially in a yoga class I took a few years ago. I inadvertently took someone’s spot once and boy I didn’t make that mistake again!

  3. nevie b. says:

    i had this awful woman in the body pump class i usually go to who was miserable about everything and made everyone else miserable. she’d complain about the instructors, the number of people coming to class, the way the equipment was arranged, and she’d wimp out halfway through every track. but she came every week and was first in line and acted like she ran the class. i hated her guts and she was a total stranger. i always made sure my platform/mat was as far away from her as possible during class lol.

    at my gym it definitely depends on what time you go. i think the closer you go to 5pm the more packed the class is – people want to get their workout in before they get home and get too comfortable to get out again. so when i go to a 7pm class it’s fairly comfortable. still almost full, but more relaxed.

    and honestly, the first time i went to body pump i didn’t go back for like 6 months. guys who think they’re super way ripped wouldn’t survive a body pump class because it’s not about finding your one rep max, it’s about the number of repetitions and changing the rhythm to actually sculpt and tone. i’m only able to go once a week but the people i see whose bodies really start to change and you see visible muscle tone go twice a week. now that i’ve been going for a couple years, i am able to just sort of tune the other catty women in the class out, focus in on my instructor (who luckily is pretty awesome about demo-ing what a clean and press or a dead lift should look like and reminding you when to keep your elbows in, etc, and always makes sure to find new faces at the beginning of class to go over the basics about stance, etc). keep going, you will fall in love and it will definitely make you a stronger person and runner. 🙂

    • DarlinRae says:

      I’m already in love! It’s just what I need to keep me working and motivated. I have a friend who teaches other Les Mills classes and we had a great chat about how Body Pump is so great for being able to see your progression in increasing your weight, or being able to finish a track that you couldn’t at the beginning of the release. I’m like 90% committed to getting certified to teach the class at the same time my friend does in June! I just need to ignore the pirhannas and do my thing 🙂

      • nevie b. says:

        that is awesome you want to teach it! i could never keep up with all the track changes haha. i’ll stick with trying to get to the end of the tricep track :p

  4. runsaltrun says:

    I am laughing my butt off right now because the idea of doing Body Pump while pregnant makes me want to die. OMG. I would feel HUGELY inadequate in that class. You know I love Pump though! It’s one of my favorite ways to strength train.

  5. kebe51 says:

    Sounds kinda similar to CrossFit (I love me a clean and press/jerk), although for CrossFit, they make you take a foundations course first to make sure you know how to do all the movements and at my box the class has a max of 8 people so the coach can watch everyone…also in my class is a visibly preggo 5 month ex-coach who DEFINITELY makes me look bad and feel inadequate ALL the time (but she also makes the guys feel that way too so it’s ok lol). But I’m so glad you found yet ANOTHER class you enjoy! It seems you’ve hit the gym jackpot with this place! So jealous of all your classes and all the fun and you are gonna be such a beast before you know it! (In the good way…)

    • DarlinRae says:

      I’m so glad I finally got off my butt and tried some classes. The classes were the whole reason I joined the gym in the first place, but it took me 7 months to get to one!

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